Join us this Thursday night as Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum honors the invaluable role of wartime nurses with _Angels of the Battlefield: The Unsung Heroes – a program featuring the first-hand accounts of military nurses who cared for troops injured on the frontlines.
How many eyes do you think a horseshoe crab has? Two? Four? Five? They actually have 10! These eyes are spread out over the organism's body including on its shell, tail, and near its mouth to help with navigation while swimming!
Hermit crabs are pretty funky little crabs. Instead of a hard shell, they have a soft abdomen. Hermit crabs are salvage empty seashells, such as whelk shells, to protect themselves. Once the crab gets too big, it'll leave its shell and look for a hew one.
Did you know, if a hermit crab finds a new shell but realizes its too big, it will wait next to this shell for up to eight hours. During this time other hermit crabs may come along and check out this new possible shell. If they also find it too big they will join in on the waiting game. If one hermit crab is able to claim the new larger shell, all the other hermit crabs will start switching existing shells in sequence, with each hermit crab "moving" up one shell size bigger. It works just like hand-me-downs!
Written by Malia Canann
Ospreys are fishermen. The name osprey comes from Latin and means “bone breaker”. This is a good way to describe how they catch fish. Ospreys, sometimes called fish hawks, fly to up to 30 stories above the water, dive quickly from these heights, and then pull up and plunge feet first to capture a fish in its strong talons. Their unusual feet have a reversible outer toe that allows them to grasp with two toes in front and two behind. Barbs (small hooks) on the soles of the birds' feet help them grip slippery fish. An osprey can carry a fish weighing 1 ½ pounds, up to half of its body weight!
Ospreys are so good at fishing that they catch a fish in about 1 in 4 tries in part because of their amazing eyesight. Once a fish is caught ospreys turn the fish around in their talons so that it is head first for aerodynamics as they fly. They then perch on a branch or pole to eat their delicious meal of fish.
Picture and information from: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Osprey/id
Information from Tideland Treasures by Todd Ballantine
A pair of ospreys is making their nest atop the Yorktown! The large raptors (birds of prey or those that feed on other animals) have been seen carrying pieces of marsh grass to the site of the nest. Ospreys are the only raptors that catch fish in their talons so they usually nest in areas near the water. They prefer high places like the tops of utility towers, poles, dead trees, or the Yorktown.
Recently, a bald eagle has been seen perched near the osprey’s nesting site. Once it was even observed chasing the osprey. Hopefully it will not chase it from its nest. If you are visiting Patriot’s Point soon, be sure to look up!
Picture (top) and information from: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Osprey/id
How are you celebrating today? Check out this video about the history of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City.
When an ecosystem is polluted, scientist survey an area to see what species are present. Certain animals can be indicator species, or can tell us how polluted an area is. In fact, some of the best indicator species for ecosystem health are worms! Benthic worms, or worms living on the sea floor, have different tolerances of pollution. This means that some species of worms can handle more pollution than others. Depending on the species composition and if they are present in an area, scientists can determine how healthy or polluted an ecosystem is. Marine worms fall under a group of worms known as polychaetes.
Recently, instructors Christine Michael and Wiley Sinkus participated in the annual joint meeting of the South Carolina chapters of the Fisheries Workers Association and the American Fisheries Society. Christine and Wiley are currently students in College of Charleston’s Graduate Program in Marine Biology and work on projects involving SC DNR’S MARMAP (Marine Resources Monitoring, Assessment, & Prediction) Program. Christine was awarded best poster, for her poster titled “Life History and Diet for 6 Forage Fishes Common in Reef and Nearshore Habitats of the South Atlantic Bight”. Wiley received best presentation for his talk, titled “Mercury Bioaccumulation of Six Offshore Reef Fish Species for Atlantic Waters of the Southeastern United States”. Congrats to them both!
Did you know... when you go fishing, your parents must have a fishing license! Just like a driving license lets your parents drive on the road, a fishing license lets you fish in the water. Not just anyone can go fishing, and not all fishermen are allowed to keep what they catch. Many fish in Charleston harbor are protected because they are still small and need to grow, or they are really big and can reproduce. This means there is a size limit, which is an example of fisheries management. Fisheries management makes sure fish populations are sustainable, meaning you and your friends can go fishing for the same fish species for a very long time!
-Science Educator, Christine Michael